Friday, September 25, 2009

Danielle Rolley- Vygotsky

Prior to becoming an education major, I had no idea who Vygotsky was and knew nothing about him or his Zone of Proximal Development. I first learned about Vygotsky and ZPD in my educational psychology class. I found it a very interesting and useful theory to know and use as a teacher. This might be why I learn it in almost every class now. From my understanding ZPD is the theory that children have a range of learning from what they can do on their own to what they can do with assistance. Also that what they can do with assistance will turn into something they can do on their own shortly after. The assistance teachers give is called scaffolding. Teachers can increase or decrease their amount of scaffolding depending on how well the child is learning from it. Overall intelligence isn't measure only by a child's ZPD but from a child's ZPD and actual developmental level. For me ZPD is very easy to understand, however knowing how well it works and how to use it correctly is a little more difficult.

When I was younger I remember being able to learn faster and better after being assisted with something rather than just having to do it on my own until I learn it. For example, when I learned to cut with scissors I had no idea what I was doing and I was intimidated by the fact that I was supposed to use them. After my teacher assisted me with using scissors I was less intimidated and more determined to do it on my own. The fact that I didn't know how to use scissors didn't mean that I wasn't intelligent, it just meant I hadn't learned how to use them prior the being assisted. I learn much the same way even today. My ZPD is much more developed then it was when I was learning to use scissors, because there is a lot more things I know how to do without the need of assistance. However I still find myself needing assistance to learn how to do things. Shortly after I get this assitance I am able to do it on my own.

1 comment:

  1. I had not heard of Vygotsky or the Zone of Proximal Development either until I came to Indiana University. Now, we hear about him and the ZPD in almost every class. I really liked your example about just everyday uses such as scissors. The main point that was really important to remember is that people are not "stupid" if they need assistance in a given area. Either the child needs more guidance or hands on help with the task at hand. I really liked how you incorporated that point in your statement because I think a lot of people just jump to the conclusion that the person is slow or "stupid". Most of the time, the child just needs extra assistance until they have mastered it or they need a different way of learning how to do something since they learn in a different style.